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Topic: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

  1. #1

    Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Hello everybody!

    Though I have been visiting nearly daily, I've been trying to ease myself back into posting here! The truth is, I haven't been writing much lately, so haven't been posting much. After contemplating posting this for a while, I have decided to share "Desert Night," originally written for 10-player percussion ensemble, but reduced to a quartet arrangement for Son Da Capo. (Though, they eventually gained a 5th player.)

    This piece was originally written for the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra when I was a member in 2006/2007. It was also the first percussion ensemble of mine to be performed in front of an audience of any size greater than 0. I don't remember how many attended the original performance, but it was a LOT more than I expected

    It is especially exciting then, that "Desert Night" is also the first piece of mine to be performed internationally. After looking through my started-threads, I don't think I ever actually shared the original recording of this that used GPO. I was never especially proud of the rendering quality, as I hastily put it together. Also, since it is only about 50% GPO, I think I was hesitant to post it here.

    For those interested, the original GPO recording can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S8hb7A2fzQ

    The Timpani, Xylophone, and Marimba 1 parts are GPO, and the battery is a mix of GPO and VDL that I have long since forgotten. But if any are interested, I'll gladly specify those as well. Vibraphone, Bells and Marimba 2 are VDL.

    Here is a live version of Son Da Capo's performance that was created after their concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeqXe26lIgA

    The audio quality isn't great, but it beats the crap out of my version


    Here is a better quality recording of Son Da Capo's performance (sans video): https://app.box.com/s/5kf18kmtm592o5cjec44

    I hope you enjoy listening! I will certainly be making some rounds in the listening room shortly!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  2. #2

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Oh yeeeah! I love it, Michael - I listened to the GPO version first out of curiosity, and was much surprised at how good it is. You're much too humble about that effort. It sounds fine! Some distortion on the ff section towards the end, but meh, big deal.

    Then the dessert was the live version - Wow, very talented ensemble there! -- Talk about distortion though - the recording is suffering from constant digital distortion, unfortunately. I wonder if the original recording was better, and this was overly compressed by someone? I'm hearing brick wall to-the-top and beyond recordings a lot nowadays on YouTube and elsewhere.

    All that aside, it's really a cool piece, with a nice feeling of the exotic without being corny. It twinkles in a dramatic way, in keeping with the title - which I imagine to conjure a night in the Arabian dessert.

    Great stuff - Round of applause, take a well deserved bow.


    EDIT: I got curious to look at the video's soundtrack. As expected, in Sound Forge where a signal shows up as dark blue, this is mostly a solid brick from top to bottom on the screen, and totally peaking over into the red. Darn. I know this is a group out of the country and who are doing their own thing, but maybe you could ask them if there's an original unprocessed master. If so, there's hope of rendering a better quality copy of this for you.

  3. #3

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Hello Randy! Thanks for your comments! Maybe my memory of my Desert Night rendering was worse than the actual thing itself. Though, the distortion was very sharp in my mind. Perhaps I was exaggerating.

    As you suspected, the audio of the live performance was salvageable, and the group did send me a better quality version of it. However, I had reservations to upload the file to the internet for reasons that are probably unfounded, so I updated the original post with the better-quality audio file. I did synch this version with the video at one point, but I figured the audio file alone would suffice.

    Thanks for listening!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  4. #4

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)


    I must say the best. I love the interaction of the performers as they breathe life into this wonderful piece of percussion magic. I'll bet they loved playing it also.

    Thanks for sharing the two side by side.

    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  5. #5

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    ...the audio of the live performance was salvageable, and the group did send me a better quality version of it...
    Now we're talking! Thank you for getting that undistorted copy up, Michael - the difference is night and day. I hesitated to complain about the YouTube audio, but it bugged me that your nice piece, performed so well, had been mangled like that. I'm relieved to know you have this version, and at least for your own edification, this synced to the video would be nice to keep.

    I really like the piece - glad to have the chance to hear it again, this time with no pain involved!


  6. #6

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Bill, thanks for taking a listen, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks Randy for listening again, and I am glad you complained!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  7. #7

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Great to see you posting again, Michael. It's been already said but the ensemble here do an excellent job on the piece. Pity it's quite distorted, but the garritan version sounds great too.
    YouTube Music:
    My Channel

  8. #8

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)


    This is a beautifully realized and arranged piece of percussion music! I especially appreciate the melodic vitality you manage to impart to a piece of this kind. Your main theme is memorable and cleverly handled throughout.

    The ability to read the score while listening is so rewarding for me. Being notationally oriented, I find myself much more able to reach the depths of the composer’s meaning by means of a furnished score.

  9. #9

    Re: Desert Night percussion ensemble (live)


    This is such a great post!! It's not very often I get to hear an all percussion composition and this is so riveting. I appreciate it even more because I'm percussion "deaf" or illiterate or what ever the correct terminology is for not having a flair with mallets and sticks. The combination of instruments here is enchanting to my ears.....really quite mesmerizing.

    It helped so much having the midi AND SCORE playing simultaneously. I could really see what you were actually doing. Then on top of it you included the link with a live video of it being played. Even though it was distorted, I just turned down the volume and watched. I learned so much by watching especially how they use the double mallets. Seeing it live (video at least) makes the music come alive. I don't know how you synchronized the score page turning to music, but it was a real treat for me. So thanks for providing both these extra details along with your post.

    I'm so glad I didn't miss this . It was beautiful, educational, and inspiring!!!!!


  10. #10

    Re: Desert Night for percussion ensemble (live)

    Thanks, everybody, for the comments!

    I'm glad you guys enjoyed the video being synchronized with the score. I enjoy making videos like that because it makes the video worth watching, but it is still pretty easy to do. Cass, thanks for your kind words! To synchronize the video I used "Windows Live Movie Maker," which is a free download for Windows Vista/7. To take the screen captures of the score, I use the Snipping Tool that comes pre-installed on those versions of Windows as well. It is one of the most useful, lesser-known features of Windows there is. I usually just find it by typing it in the search bar in the start screen.

    I once tried doing a screen-capture video of Finale playing the score, but my laptop back then could not handle the video recording and Finale playback at the same time, so the music had some skips in it. I had to synchronize the video with the original audio file, which was incredibly difficult since the video would have shown the lag in Finale, whereas the audio file had none. I feel this screen capture of pages or partial pages of a score is much less distracting, and MUCH easier to accomplish

    Thanks again to everyone that listened.
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

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